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christa.jpg (5628 bytes) Chemical Industry News Editor Christa Semko
Every two weeks, Christa will bring you the latest chemical industry news from around the world.  If you have a press release that you'd like to share with us, please mail it to us through our online contact form here.

Dateline: November 10, 2009

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North America

PVC Plant Emission Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will set new nationwide emission standards for makers of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) under a settlement with environmental groups. The EPA has agreed to set emission standards by July 29, 2011 as part of a settlement with three environmental groups that sued the EPA last year for failing to impose emission standards on PVC manufacturers in Louisiana.


Time to Comment Extended

Federal officials are giving the public an extra month to comment on a proposed deal with Dow Chemical Co. on designing a cleanup of dioxin contamination near its Midland, Michigan plant. The comment period began October 19 and had been scheduled to end November 17. Now, the Environmental Protection Agency has extended the deadline until December 17. The plan under consideration outlines the next steps in a Superfund evaluation of contamination in the Tittabawassee River, the Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay and their floodplains.


Eliminating Chlorine

The Clorox Co. is changing how it makes its namesake bleach so it can stop transporting chlorine to U.S. factories by rail amid growing safety concerns and regulatory scrutiny. Beginning with its Fairfield, California factory, Clorox plans to switch to high-strength bleach with a higher concentration of sodium hypochlorite instead of buying chlorine and making bleach onsite. The Fairfield transition is expected to take six months. The company’s other six factories around the U.S. will be changed during the following few years. The company says that while the bleach-making process will change, the end products will not, and consumers won’t notice a difference in quality, smell or color.



The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a $87 million fine against BP PLC for failing to correct safety hazards after a 2005 explosion killed 15 people at its Texas City, Texas refinery. The fine is the largest in OSHA’s history and comes after a six-month inspection revealed hundreds of violations of a 2005 agreement to repair hazards at the refinery. OSHA also said that BP committed hundreds of new violations by failing to follow industry controls on pressure relief safety systems and other precautions.


Job Cuts

Royal Dutch Shell PLC plans to cut 5,000 jobs to cope with continuing weakness in the global economy. The company is not expecting a swift economic recovery so plans to make job cuts in its middle management. The cuts come on top of 500 layoffs among senior management earlier this year. Around 15,000 employees will also be forced to apply to keep their jobs and additional cuts are possible in 2010.


Tech Center

Wacker is strengthening its presence in India by opening a technical center in Mumbai. The facility will serve as a regional competence center for developments and applications in the construction, coatings, plastics and textile coatings industry. The main focus will be on construction polymers, silicone emulsions, sealants, silanes and silicone resins.


Ethylene Plant Expansion

Petkim Petrochemical Holding AS has awarded The Shaw Group Inc. a contract to provide engineering and procurement services and additional study work for an ethylene plant capacity expansion in Aliaga, Turkey. Shaw built the original plant in 1986 and performed basic engineering for the previous capacity revamp to 520 kTA in 1999. The new expansion will increase ethylene production capacity by approximately 10 percent.


Simulator for Phenol Plant

KBR has been awarded a contract by Kayan Petrochemical Company to develop and implement an Operator Training Simulator (OTS) for its phenol plant in Saudi Arabia. KBR will develop a customized, high-fidelity simulator to be used for the initial training of the phenol plant’s operations and for continual refresher training after plant startup.


Methanol Project

Salalah Methanol Company has begun receiving natural gas supplies at its complex in Oman, a key phase in the development of its world-scale project. The arrival of natural gas puts the facility into the commissioning phase ahead of commercial production scheduled early next year. Construction of the plant is now more than 90% complete.  At full capacity, the plant will produce around 3,000 metric tons of methanol/day.


New Plant

Univation Technologies, LLC’s UNIPOL PE Process has been selected by Yulin Energy and Chemical Limited of Yanchang Petroleum Group for a 300,000 ton/year polyethylene plant. The facility will be located in Shaanxi Province, China and will be fed by a combination of conventional feedstock and coal-to-olefins feedstock. The facility will produce linear low-density polyethylene. Startup is planned for 2013.

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